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$5.4bn of deals at St Pete Forum show Russia weathering sanctions – organizers

A total of 205 contracts, estimated at $5.4 billion, were signed at the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2015). These numbers completely refute the idea of Russia’s economic isolation, the Forum’s organizers say.

The 2015 figure – which works out at 293.4 billion rubles at current exchange rates – compares to 175 deals signed at the 2014 event, worth $7.4 billion (401.4 billion rubles at June 2014 rates), said Anton Kobyakov, the executive secretary of this year’s SPIEF organizing committee.

READ MORE: 2015 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum LIVE UPDATES

This year, some 10,000 representatives from 120 countries visited the so-called “Russian Davos,” which showed an “unprecedented” interest in the event, Kobyakov said. About 2,000 journalists were accredited to cover the Forum – a record for the Forum’s 19-year history, he said.

The Forum’s events were attended by top officials from Greece, China, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iraq. SPIEF was also attended by eight former heads of state, some 200 CEO-level executives of foreign companies and 1,500 of their Russian counterparts.

"The results of the forum tear to shreds the time-worn thesis of the allegedly efficient, [severe] isolation of Russia from global development processes," Kobyakov said.

A Russia-Greece gas deal estimated at €2 billion that will create a special enterprise for constructing the Turkish Stream pipeline across Greece was probably the most remarkable deal struck at the forum.

READ MORE: Russia, Greece sign €2bn deal on Turkish Stream gas pipeline

The so-called ‘Nord Stream 2.0’ gas agreement between Gazprom, Shell, E.ON and OMV was another major deal at the Forum. The companies signed a memorandum of intent to lay two additional gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea, with a capacity of 55 billion cubic meters per year. The new infrastructure, which will follow the route of Nord Stream, is expected to ensure direct supplies of Russia gas to European consumers.

On top of that, BP acquired a 20 percent stake in one of Russia’s largest oil and gas fields in Eastern Siberia, which belongs to Rosneft subsidiary Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha (Taas). The deposit currently produces about 20,000 barrels of oil per day. BP’s share in the project is estimated at $750 million.

Last year, a total of 7,590 representatives of foreign delegations from 73 countries attended the Forum.